Star Trek: The Next Generation/The Last Outpost
The Last Outpost is the fifth episode of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Also Starring: Levar Burton (Lt. Geordi La Forge), Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar), Michael Dorn (Lt. Worf), Gates McFadden (Doctor Beverly Crusher), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi), Brent Spiner (Lt. Commander Data), Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) (credit only)
Guest Star: Darryl Henriques (Portal)
Co-Star: Mike Gomez (Daimon Tarr)
The Enterprise is in pursuit of a Ferengi vessel, which has stolen a T-9 energy converter from a Federation Outpost, when suddenly, for no reason, the Ferengi ship drops to impulse near a planet. Captain Picard demands they return the stolen property, but the Ferengi response is to fire on the Enterprise. Unexplainably, the Enterprise suddenly starts to lose power, and find themselves unable to move. After some investigation, Geordi detects an energy field, apparently from the Ferengi ship, holding them in place, and draining their power, which compensates almost as soon as the Enterprise tries to move. They attempt to escape by kicking suddenly into high warp, but the plan fails.
With all options seemingly exhausted, Picard signals to the Ferengi that they surrender. However, the Ferengi misunderstand and communicate back that they wish to discuss terms for their surrender. The crew realise that the field which holds the Enterprise in place is also affecting the Ferengi ship. Further investigation by Data reveals that the field is being projected from the planet, which once belonged to the T'Kon Empire, who were destroyed several millennia ago when their sun went supernova. The Ferengi realise they have been tricked, but Picard suggests an exchange of information, and that both ships send away teams to the planet to attempt to find a way to escape. Daimon Tarr, the Ferengi commander, agrees, and an away team is assembled.
Riker arrives on the planet but is separated from the rest of the team, all of whom rematerialize in different locations due to conditions on the planet. Riker finds Data, Geordi and Worf, but they are attacked without warning by the Ferengi landing party. The away team comes to, and attack the Ferengi, but the fight is broken up, first by the arrival of Tasha, and then by the sudden appearance of Portal, the last living member of the T'Kon Empire. He challenges the Enterprise and Ferengi crew, and Riker steps up. He is apparently able to read human minds, but the Ferengi are closed to him, and he questions Riker about the philosophies of Sun Tzu, which Riker had been discussing with Picard earlier. They talk, and Portal agrees to release both the Enterprise and the Ferengi vessel, before returning to the slumber from which he came. The Enterprise receives the T-9 energy converter back, and departs.
- Stardate: 41386.4
Alien of the Week
- The Ferengi: The Enterprise encounters the Ferengi for the first time after they steal a T-9 energy converter. Before now, the Ferengi had merely been rumor to the Federation, and no Federation ship had ever had close contact with a Ferengi vessel. The various rumors about the Ferengi were mostly conflicting accounts, however the reports that didn't conflict likened them to the Yankee traders on Earth circa the 18th and 19th Century. Despite Daimon Tarr, the Ferengi commander, agreeing a truce and exchange with Picard, his landing party attacks the Enterprise away team without provocation. Eventually the Ferengi return the T-9 device, and the Enterprise and Ferengi depart on reasonably amicable terms.
- Portal: The last member of the ancient T'Kon Empire, Portal was awakened when the Enterprise and Ferengi ship sent away teams to a planet in the Delphi Ardu system, which once belonged to the immense empire. He is seemingly able to read the minds of humans, but not the Ferengi, and was interested in the philosophies of Sun Tzu, which he obtained from Commander Riker's mind. He and Riker discuss them, as well as the Ferengi, and he agrees to release the Enterprise, and, at Riker's request, the Ferengi ship also.
- T-9 Energy Converter: The Enterprise give chase to a Ferengi vessel who have stolen a T-9 Energy Converter from an unmanned Federation Outpost on Gamma Tauri IV. After both the Ferengi and the Enterprise are attacked by Energy Collectors on a planet in the Delphi Ardu system, the Enterprise recover the T-9 device.
- First Appearance: First appearance of the Ferengi, who were previously mentioned in 1x02 - Encounter at Farpoint (2). This is also the first (known) encounter between the Federation and a Ferengi ship, although it's later revealed in 1x09 - The Battle that the USS Stargazer destroyed one 30 years prior to this episode.
Behind the Scenes
- Multiple Roles: Armin Shimerman, who plays Letek, one of the first Ferengi to appear, makes his first appearance on Star Trek in this episode. He will Co-Star in 1x11 - Haven as the Gift Box, and of course returns to a Ferengi role as Quark in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Allusions and References
- Sun Tzu: A Chinese philosopher who wrote The Art of War.
- Stuck: Data finds himself at a "functional impass" - he becomes stuck when the solution to a Chinese finger puzzle eludes him.
- Picard: I've never heard the word "T'kon" before.
- Data: Understandable. It has been extinct for six-hundred-thousand of our (Discovers his fingers are stuck in the Chinese finger puzzle) ...of our...years. These...these planets were once...outposts of that...empire...
- Picard: Data, what are you doing?
- Data: Apologies, Captain. I seem to have reached an odd...functional impass. I am, ah...stuck.
- Picard: (Getting impatient) Then get unstuck and continue with the briefing.
- Data: Yes, sir, that is what I'm trying to do, sir, but the...solution...eludes me.
- Geordi: My hero! (Laughs, as Picard frees Data's fingers)
- Picard: Perhaps you would agree to a more productive relationship?
- Daimon Tarr: (On viewscreen) I would prefer a more profitable one.
- Data: (Whispered, to Geordi) Yankee trader...
- Daimon Tarr: (On viewscreen) What is this "Yankee traitor"?
- Geordi: (Whispered, to Data) He heard that!